To increase the chances of your resume getting through an applicant tracking system,
consider the following tips:
Utilize Key Skills and Qualifications
- An ATS runs on keywords. Start with the job description and make sure to incorporate key skills and qualifications directly from the job posting.
- Don’t stop with the job description. Check the Skills section of the LinkedIn profile builder for keyword skills that relate to your industry/profession.
- Research the industry and similar job descriptions from different companies to ensure you have a comprehensive set of key skills and qualifications included in your resume.
- Use unusual words at your own risk! ATS software is programmed with common words. If you choose to use unusual synonyms, they may not be caught by the ATS.
- A single column, Word document is best, as PDF’s are easily misinterpreted by an ATS.
- Avoid tables and graphics. An ATS can’t read graphics and tables are typically misread.
- Length does not matter to an ATS. A resume should be as long or as short as you need it to be without going over 2 pages.
- Avoid excessive creativity. ATS software is not creatively savvy. Consider having a couple versions of your resume – one for the ATS and one in a more creative, eye appealing format for humans.
- Employee referrals from a well-respected employee are often given priority over the online-generated candidate pool. Look to your network to see if you know anyone within the company who can help get your resume in front of a recruiter or hiring manager.
- Schedule informational interviews at companies of interest with individuals in roles similar to those you in which you are interested.
- Expand your network. Utilize social media like LinkedIn to connect with recruiters and hiring managers. Attend networking events and professional meetings, conferences, or conventions. Join professional associations.
- Networking is the best use of your time. Learn, engage, and follow up!
Contact WGU Career & Professional Development for a personalized resume review and career assistance. We are here to help!